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Ex-Pagcor chief Genuino, son, 6 others indicted for graft over 'Baler' movie deal
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines - Ombusdsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the indictment of former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation chairman Efraim Genuino, his son Erwin, and six other Pagcor officials for malversation and graft charges in connection to a multimillion-peso deal for the 2008 movie, "Baler." 

In a 43-page joint review resolution signed on February 25, 2013, Morales found probable cause to indict Genuino, Rafael Francisco, Jose Benedicto, Rene Figueroa, Edward King, Ester Hernandez and Valente Custodio on one count of malversation and another count for violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection to the promotion of "Baler," a movie production between Viva Communications and Batas Iwas Droga (BIDA) Foundation. 

According to the ombudsman, business losses were "effectively shouldered" using government funds when Pagcor bought 89,000 movie tickets for "Baler" at P300 each or a total of P26.7 million. Morales said this was contrary to the scheme approved by Pagcor that was supposed to only offer movie tickets to casino patrons through the player tracking system points. 

Government records show that only 7,791 tickets for "Baler" were bought by casino patrons, while 6,253 tickets were sold by Pagcor branches to the public, and 2,806 tickets were sold to employees through salary deduction.

The 72,150 unused movie tickets worth P21.645 million plus the transmitted sales commission worth P474,510 or a total of P22.119 million representing marketing expenses were charged to Pagcor's operating expense fund on top of the advertising expense of P2.065 million. 

“The Office observed that the relevant documents were processed in just one day while the check-payment was released the following day.  It also discovered that BIDA and PAGCOR had interlocking officers, viz.: Cendana was BIDA’s corporate secretary while Genuino, Benedicto, Francisco and King were incorporators of BIDA,” Morales said. 

Meanwhiile, Efraim's son, Erwin Genuino was ordered indicted for violating Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officers and Employees. 

Morales also found conflict of interest on the part of Erwin, Pagcor executive assistant, who was also the executive producer of “Baler.” 

Pagcor facilities and resources were used in the post-producion and promotion of the movie, making Erwin iable for violating R.A. 6713, according to the ombudsman. 

Still in the same ruling, Morales ordered the filing of Information for one count of malversation against Genuino and King in connection with Pagcor's shouldering of the forwarding, storage, and brokerage of 300 metric tons of donated rice that were already packed into 10,000 bags at 30 kilograms per bag. 

A Japanese firm donated the rice to the Philippine government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development for the victims of typhoon “Frank” in 2008.   

Morales found that the re-milling of the remaining stored bags to prevent deterioration did not materialize because of a barter agreement between Pagcor and KDL Rice Mill wherein the 70,425 kgs. of donated Thai rice were exchanged for 64,858.5 kgs. of angelica rice valued at P1,409,400.

The angelica rice was eventually repacked into smaller bags bearing the images and political slogans of brothers Erwin and Anthony Genuino in 2010 and subsequently released to, among others, Trace Computer College owned by the Genuinos.